Learning how to think, learning how to communicate, learning a new language, learning how to be challenged, learning and learning and learning...This is what college is; no matter what college institution you attend, you still learn everyday. But here at SCAD we learn a little bit differently.
While sitting on my dorm floor with my two dearest friends we got into a discussion about how SCAD operates. From a first year, girl's perspective we did our best to reveal the true nature of what it's like to be a student at the Savannah College of Art and Design.
Below is a list of 20 things we feel you should know about SCAD:
1. People are strange. Strange has multiple definitions. Strange could define my habit of calling a drinking fountain a bubbler, or it could be used to describe a man suiting up as a power ranger before class each morning.
“I got here and I couldn't be more basic.”
“We are normal...I’m not wearing a furry tail.”
2. Hard and underrated. You work for hours and hours and hours and cross your fingers that your professor doesn’t make you redo the entire assignment. We don’t have Friday classes because we have time consuming projects to complete in a ridiculously short amount of time. And always remember, leave your ego at the door because you’re never good enough.
“If you don’t try, you will go nowhere. A degree won’t get you anywhere, you have to have the work to back up the piece of paper. You could easily do bad work and pass, but you won’t make it.”
3. There’s a lot of smoking. No judgement, people just seem to make that an important part of their lives here more than before.
“Everybody vapes or smokes and if you don’t its surprising.”
“Sometimes you try smoking even if you had never planned on it.”
4. Competition. You make friends with many of the people you’re going to be competing with for the same job in the future. The professor will always give the “A” grade to the best one in the class which leads to constant comparison. You’re always competing, and that’s something that you have to learn how to deal with and handle professionally. Just do your thing and do it well.
“There’s a very small group of people you trust at art school. Their minds are beautiful, but their souls are not.”
5. Critique. Critical analysis of your work makes you a better artist. There’s always something to improve on, and there’s hopefully something you’ve done well. You can spend multiple hours on a project that still falls in the bottom portion of the class or you could get praised for doing a great job on something that challenged you. Either way, critique that facilitates artistic growth.
“I hate critique days. Once you put the work next to everybody else, you like your work less and less...but you learn so much! and it’s necessary. We show up to class to be reminded that the project we spent so much time on will never be good enough.”
6. Instagram. So many people at SCAD have thousands of followers on Instagram. It’s a place where people display their creativity and market themselves. We all love a good picture accompanied by an aesthetically appealing feed.
“We Instagram harder than anybody else I know.”
“Please allow me to arrange my coffee and pastry in a visually appealing way and spend a few minutes choosing the angle at which to take a photo.”
7. People understand. All of us are forced to adopt the artist lingo and we start talking about things that we feel really passionate about; chances are your friends are passionate about similar things. This allows us to get really geeky and freely exchange terms that the normal world has never heard of before.
“Nobody at home understands what cold press and hot press paper is.”
8. Work. We’re always doing our work. The term “homework” is seldom used at SCAD; we normally refer to it as work because it’s typically something we enjoy doing. We always talk about it and sometimes it gets a little bit sickening.
“We work harder than anybody I’ve ever met. Our play time is shorter, but when we play, we play hard. We live cool lives!”
9. Experience. It all boils down to building a killer resume; the only way to do that is to practice what you’re learning and gain experience in the industry. We take on far too much just to stack that resume. Websites, business cards, and resumes are all drafted by the end of freshman year.
“We are technically already in our jobs doing adult things.”
10. Distance. Whether it’s three or thirty hours, most people here come from far away. We don’t see our friends, family or even a home cooked meal for months. Friends are like family, they pick you up when you’re down and live to make you laugh. Some of us love the distance away from home while others of us miss our families dearly. We’re all just really far away and traveling gets expensive.
“None of us go home for the weekend, or see each other over breaks.”
11. MONEY. The person next to you probably drives a Range Rover, they might have more than one house, or travel the world for fun on weekends. On the other hand, there’s also normal people who are on all scholarships to be here. It’s expensive to attend this school, and projects rob you of any type of spending money. There’s many people here placing more value on money than on ideas and they will quickly realize that your brain gets you farther than your wallet. But in the end, you have to spend money to make money, and as everybody says your education is an investment.
“I actually want to throw up when I think about how much my senior thesis will cost me.”
“Drained by art supplies.”
12. Coffee shops. I think we can all have an extensive conversation about the delicious pastries at Gallery Espresso or our favorite drinks at Foxy Loxy... There are unique coffee shops around every corner that damage our wallets, but nonetheless we love them and their charming qualities.
“We have the best coffee shops, need I say more?”
13. Campus? We don’t have one. SCAD has over 60 buildings that are spread out across the city. We all try our very best to avoid using the bus service because it usually results in waiting an hour to get where you need to go; a two mile walk seems like nothing after your freshman year at SCAD.
“If you want a tour of the city, take the red bus on the weekend. It takes you one hour to get home from a building that’s 7 minutes away.”
14. Sleep on the weekend? Going out on a weekday? Not a thing. As freshman, you have the privilege of having a small amount of free time; as a senior you get the honor of sleeping in your building every night of the weekend. People who prioritize partying will quickly change their habits or go to a different school.
“We don’t have time for that.”
15. Dangerous. Tourists refer to Savannah as Disney world, but once you get to know the city the crime becomes very evident. A great way to get mugged is to walk alone at night.
“There was a boy who got robbed at gun point at 9am a block away from our dorms yesterday.”
16. Boys vs. Girls. If you are a female, your options are very limited... We’ll just leave it at that.
“Trying to date at art school is a laughable matter.”
17. Never enough. No matter how far along you are, you will always feel like you could be doing more work.Whether it be clubs, homework or jobs, people will work themselves to death just to gain experience in their field. Tons of experience and opportunity makes you stand out to an employer.
“The person next to you has probably already been in Vogue.”
“And don’t be surprised when your peers have already started their first business and patented a product or two.”
18. Broken. Most of us here come from emotional unrest and art has been a way to express that and cope with it. Many people here have no problem saying goodbye to their family for months at a time; many people here struggle deeply with metal illness such as anxiety and depression. Being passionate about your work allows one to escape the brokenness most of these students come from.
“I’ve never been around so many other people that struggle with the same things I do.”
19. Collaboration. Everybody needs help making their dream come true. Find people who are passionate and hardworking early on and work with them a lot. These are the people we’ll be working with when we go into the industry. SCAD forces us to network with one another all the time.
“After all it’s all about who you know.”
20. People that go to art school understand people that go to art school. Art school people understand art school lingo, they understand why you don’t have class on Fridays, they understand what it means to have deep rooted passion, they understand risk taking and critique... We enjoy tea time, underground concerts, and pop up photoshoots on a Tuesday afternoon. We get each other.
“We are all different together; that’s a very comforting thought.”
This list sums up our most prevalent observations as first year students. SCAD is a place where our dreams are turned into realities; where we meet our best friends and encounter our worst nightmares; where we go to escape normalities of the world... it’s a place where we feel at home. I love it dearly.